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Akismet logo.png
Web address akismet.com
Commercial? Yes
Registration Required
Owner Automattic
Created by
Launched 25 October 2005; 10 years ago (2005-10-25)
Alexa rank
4,398 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Online

Akismet is a spam filtering service that filters spam from comments, trackbacks, and contact form messages. The filter works by combining information about spam captured on all participating sites, and then using those spam rules to block future spam. Akismet is offered by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.[2]

Launched on October 25, 2005,[3] Akismet is said to have captured over 100 billion spam comments and pings as of October 2013.[4]


The founder of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg was inspired to create Akismet so that his mother could blog in safety.[5] In 2005, there were ongoing discussions about how to deal with comment spam. At the time, there were a few plugins around, such as Spam Karma and Bad Behavior, and Matt was also working on his own anti-spam solution. His first attempt was a JavaScript plugin which modified the comment form and hid fields, but within hours of launching it, spammers downloaded it, figured out how it worked, and bypassed it. This is a common pitfall for anti-spam plugins: once they get traction, spammers pay attention and they quickly figure out how to bypass it. In late 2005 Matt launched the Akismet plugin for WordPress. Akismet (which stands for Automattic kismet) is a way of dealing with spam in aggregate, a crowd-sourced spam-fighting tool.[6]

Each time someone posts a comment to your website, Akismet checks it against all the comments in the database. If it's spam, it's deleted, if not it lands on your site. If spam gets through and a user marks it as spam, the comment is added to the database. So the pool of spam comments is constantly widening, making Akismet into something that is more effective over time. “It’s like all the kids on the playground ganging up against a bully.” says Matt,[7] “Collectively we all have the data and the information to stop spammers, certainly before they’re able to have a big impact.”[6]

The name, Automattic kismet (Akismet for short) was suggested by Matt's sister Charleen.

Using Akismet[edit]

Akismet was originally developed to integrate with a plugin for WordPress. The Akismet plugin has been included by default in all WordPress builds since version 2.0[8] and activated in all WordPress.com-hosted blogs.

A public Akismet API has resulted in third-party plugins for other platforms.[9] The most recent being an official Akismet plugin release for the open source internet forum software Discourse.[10]

To use Akismet, it is necessary to obtain an API key. The API key is necessary in order for the site to communicate with the Akismet servers.

Development and distribution[edit]

Released under the terms of the GNU General Public License,[11] the Akismet plugin is free software, although the code to the Akismet system itself (and the nature of the algorithm used) has not been released.

The Akismet service is free for personal use and commercial plans start at $9/month.[12]


There are a number of competitors to Akismet, including hosted solutions Mollom and Cleantalk, and WordPress plugins such as AntiSpam Bee and WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam. In addition, image or math CAPTCHA plugins are also widely used instead of Akismet.


  1. ^ "Akismet.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Automattic.com". Automattic. 
  3. ^ "Live Live". Akismet. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Akismet blocked its 100,000,000,000th spam today.". Akismet. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  5. ^ "The Biography Of WordPress – With Matt Mullenweg". Mixergy. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "WordPress book". GitHub. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Matt Mullenweg talks about Automattic and the commercial side of WordPress.". WordPress.org. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "WordPress 2.0". WordPress.org. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Other Application Plugins". Akismet. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  10. ^ "Discourse 1.2 released". Discourse. 
  11. ^ "Akismet plugin source in GPL WordPress plugin directory". 
  12. ^ "Akismet Plans". Akismet. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 

External links[edit]